National Winter Storm & Polar Vortex

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'Polar vortex' pushes subzero temps into Midwest
(Associated Press)
A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a "polar vortex" is descending into much of the U.S., pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold that could break decades-old records.

For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures are following heavy snow and high winds. Officials have closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.

The forecast is extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, N.D.; minus 21 in Madison, Wis.; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago.

Wind chills could drop into the minus 50s and 60s.

It hasn't been this cold for almost two decades in many parts of the country.
Cold Night in Minot, North Dakota
The temperature in Minot, ND was between -19 and -21 from 8am to midnight with wind chills near -50.

The night was expected to bring even colder conditions with -30 expected by about 8am and wind chills to -60.

That would be the coldest ambient temperature in five years and the coldest wind chill in 18 years in Minot.
Minnesota Bank Temperature Signs

How low can it go?

That's what everyone in the Twin Cities is wondering.

By 9:00 o'clock Sunday night, some bank thermometers in Bloomington were registering16 degrees below zero and that won't be the worst of it.

That also doesn't take into account the wind, which was gusting up to 23 miles an hour, making for a wind chill factor of 42 below zero.

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